Frankie Ballard Brings the Guitar Slinging and Soul to Hometown Show
Frankie Ballard packed Nashville’s Exit/In on Thursday evening (Nov. 17) for a sold-out hometown show that was as much country soul as it was guitar shredding. Throughout his 70-minute set, Ballard showcased his roots covering songs by Elvis Presley (“Hound Dog,” “Heartbreak Hotel”) and The Temptations (“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”) but it was on his own singles that he held the crowd in the palm of his hand, often stretching his microphone into the audience while they sang along.
“Music City, U.S.A. We came all the way from Nashville, Tennessee, to be here tonight!” Ballard joked two songs into his set. “We’re gonna have some fun tonight.”
He wasn’t lying. Happy to be performing for a hometown audience, Ballard’s energy exuded from the stage. He segued from song to song effortlessly, switching things up between being the animated frontman running around the stage to the guitar aficionado with plenty of guitar slinging that only entranced the already attentive crowd.
While ballads like the sentimental “Good as Gold” and previous single “It All Started with a Beer” impressed and showcased the singer’s soft side, the gritty and guitar heavy “Cigarette” penned by Kip Moore, Chris Stapleton and The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnson, and sultry “Little Bit of Both” which discusses how he likes ladies who possess equal parts good girl and bad girl, amped up his sex appeal. Lessons that he surely learned from the King of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley, it was Ballard’s impressive Presley mash-up later on that kicked things into high gear.
“I’m going to take you over to Memphis now,” he said mid-set. He then segued into his ode to the King where he started things off slow with “Hound Dog” and gradually amped up the audience with an instrumental interlude where he and his band showcased their guitar skills before “Heartbreak Hotel” was covered. Then, in complete Elvis fashion, he took a comb out to brush through his perfect rock ‘n’ roll coiffed hair on stage.
A country rock star in the making, Ballard’s energy was contagious and it was evident throughout the entire set that he was happy to be on the stage.
“We don’t get to play in Nashville nearly enough,” he said, thanking the crowd for selling out the show. “You’ve got to believe that makes a boy feel really good.”
He then launched into his first No. 1 single “Helluva Life,” sharing his appreciation for the crowd in song form. Additional highlights included the ’70s throwback “L.A. Woman” off his latest album El Rio, and crowd pleaser and set closer “Sunshine and Whiskey.”
“Thank you Nashville! We’ll see you next time,” he said before he walked off the stage.
By the looks of those in attendance after the show, they will all be there when he returns.
Brooke Eden opened the night with a 30-minute set that showed off her impressive pipes. Throughout her soulful performance, she belted about cheating ex-boyfriends (“If I Would’ve Known”) her hometown (“Roots”), and not being a trust fund baby (“Daddy’s Money”). On every song she blended blues, country, pop and even R&B (she did a mean cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”) for a memorable performance that proved why her name will be in big letters on the marquee in no time.